Yes, it has been a while since I posted here. As I have stated previously, I would love to post more often. If there is some enterprising entrepreneur who wants to finance my sports ramblings I would gladly find the time to be here much more often. Either way, I am again going to try and be here more often. If I have my time budgeted correctly (and I just might at that) I should be able to do a weekly post. Hey, it works for the City Paper...
So what have we missed? Well...
The Ravens did exactly what I hoped that they would do and traded down in the draft and got some extra picks (including one that they had traded to Buffalo last year in order to get Willis McGahee, leading to the pick being listed as "Baltimore from Jacksonville from Buffalo from Baltimore. The pick went through almost as many teams as Steve DeBerg. Or a Steve DeBerg pass). They went from the 8th pick to the 22nd pick, then moved back up to the 18th in order to draft Deleware QB Joe Flacco (look HERE and HERE to get an idea of who he is and some lingering draft reactions). There are those that say that the Ravens "reached" for him by taking him so early, and there are those (including some in the Ravens draft room) who feel that Michigan's Chad Henne (info on him HERE and HERE) was the better choice. The argument basically breaks down to Flacco played the majority at a 1-AA school, which is not as tough competition-wise as 1-A, where Henne played. Also, Flacco played a lot of his snaps out of the shotgun, while Michigan runs a pro-style offense. All that being said, I like the Flacco pick, and thought that overall the Ravens had a solid draft.
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
LB Tavares Gooden
SS Tom Zbikowski
OG Oniel Cousins
WR Marcus Smith
OT David Hale
FS Haruki Nakamura
WR Justin Harper
RB Allen Patrick
It was a draft that covered a lot of needs but not at the expense of talent. I think the surprise of this draft is going to be Ray Rice, a running back from Rutgers.
The Orioles have played 62 games and have 100 left. So far they are 31-31. If ANYBODY says that they thought this team would even be within 10 games of .500, let alone AT .500 this far into the season they are probably going to also try and sell you a bridge. Manager Dave Trembley has done a great job with this team, and Pitching Coach Rick Kranitz is another big reason for the team's success. Andy MacPhail got a king's ransom for Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada, and wisely decided not to just take the best offer for Brian Roberts or any other players who are available (and as far as the major league roster goes Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are off limits for sure, and I can only hope after what he has shown this season that Daniel Cabrera has joined that list), which has been known around here as the Syd Thrift School of Generally Managing Things (his fire sale of veterans landed us ONE player who was worth a damn in Melvin Mora and one who had more steroids in him than the entire field at the Preakness in Jay Gibbons).
There is every chance that in the next 6-8 weeks (baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is July 31st. Non-waiver means that the player, as long as he is eligible to be traded (does not have any kind of no-trade clause in his contract or does not have trade blocking rights as a result of MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement) can be traded to any other team as long as the Commissioner's Office reviews the trade and deems it is for a fair market value) that some or all of the following players, including Roberts, Aubrey Huff, Kevin Millar, Jay Payton, Cabrera, George Sherrill, Ramon Hernandez, and Luke Scott could all be wearing a different uniform. Or maybe none of them will be. Either way, MacPhail will get AT LEAST fair market value for them, and if his ability (and the abilities of his scouts) stay up to the task then in 2010 / 2011 Camden Yards will be vying for the right to sell postseason tickets. And more than that no fan can ask for, especially after a decade of inept and clueless "leadership".
Finally, a few local notes...
The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays came very close to being repeat National Champions of lacrosse, as well as being the first team with 10 National Championships in the sport. Instead they lost to Syracuse University, who also came into the game with 9 National Championships and left with 10. Even so, the Blue Jays had a great season, coming back from the brink of not making the Tournament to losing 13-10 after eliminating the Number 1 team, the Duke Blue Devils (a team that came in with only one loss on the season, to go with 18 wins, including a trouncing of Johns Hopkins earlier in the season). Dave Petramala is one hell of a coach and I have all he confidence in the world that they will be back in the mix next year.
The Baltimore Blast won their 4th Major Indoor Soccer League Championship in 6 years, then the league folded. It looks like the folding is mainly to reorganize and get rid of some dead wood, but still it was a bit of a surprise to have THAT be the rain on the parade.
That should just about cover everything until I get back (hopefully) next week. Until then, have fun, if you live in the area stay cool, and if you have any questions about anything sports related, leave a comment and I will try to cover it.